Wed, 07 Jun 2023

Top Thai player aims for 5th CLPGA Title in Beijing

23 May 2023, 19:05 GMT+10

BEIJING, May 23 (Xinhua) -- Patcharajutar Kongkraphan is set to return to the China LPGA Tour this week, already hot on the heels of her two victories earlier this month. The Thai star is looking for her third win at the Beijing Women's Challenge, which commences on Wednesday.

Kongkraphan secured her first title of the year at the Singha BGC Classic on the Thai domestic tour at the start of the month. The former US LPGA Tour regular then secured a three-stroke victory at the WPG Ladies Open last week on the TLPGA Tour, held at the Sunrise Golf and Country Club.

Presented with the opportunity to secure her fifth career CLPGA Tour title this week at the Beijing Orient Pearl Golf Club, the 31-year-old expressed confidence in taking on the challenge, following her Tuesday practice round.

"I'm overjoyed with last week's win. Winning on a challenging course under tough conditions - with winds blowing at 40 kilometers an hour, coupled with rain and thunderstorms - was truly rewarding," said the player known affectionately as "PK." "Every tournament victory boosts my confidence in my game. I'll just keep playing and doing my best as much as I can."

After a five-year stint on the US LPGA Tour from 2012-2017, Patcharajutar returned home to play on the Thai domestic circuit and around Asia. In late 2019, she placed sixth at the China Women's Open in Xiamen.

"When I decided to return to Asia, China was part of my plan. I have fond memories of playing on the CLPGA Tour and enjoy the courses here. My goal is simply to enjoy every single shot without setting high expectations," she noted.

"The course this week is in immaculate condition. The distance (6,502 yards) is much longer than when I previously played here, and the rough is thicker and longer. My strategy is to consistently play fairways and greens."

Patcharajutar is among 44 international players participating this week, the most since 2020. Other notable players include veteran Supamas Sangchan, one of 25 Thais in the 132-player field, and Kiwi Munchin Keh, runner-up at the 2018 Beijing Ladies Classic.

Sui Xiang, one of the local favorites, aims for her second win of the CLPGA Tour season. Having won the Tianjin Ladies Challenge by two strokes last month, Sui has maintained her edge by participating in several CLPG Qualifying Tour events.

"Playing here is certainly going to be advantageous this week," said Sui, currently leading the CLPGA Tour Order of Merit. "While the field this week is stronger than previous years, I choose to focus on my own game rather than studying the competition. We're all on a level playing field skill-wise. The winner will be the one who performs best in the end."

Defending champion Sun Jiaze enters the tournament after winning by four strokes last year, securing her second CLPGA Tour title. However, the Guangdong native, currently nursing a knee injury, isn't optimistic about a successful title defense this week.

"I've had to temper my expectations. My primary goal is to make the cut and progress from there. The golf course has undergone some changes; the scenery is even more beautiful."

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